Why MPUSD » Uziel Diaz: 'It's important to pour back into my community'

Uziel Diaz: 'It's important to pour back into my community'

Uziel Diaz Photo






Uziel Diaz

5th Grade Teacher

Ord Terrace Elementary School

Ord Terrace Elementary School 5th Grade Teacher Uziel Diaz wants students to feel welcome the moment they walk through the door.

“Someone’s culture is a big part of their identity. So something as simple as hanging up the flag of their family’s home country, something simple that I could do and I want to make sure that everybody that walks in this classroom feels welcomed, respected and honored,” Diaz said.

That sense of belonging is something he feels everyday in the Seaside community where he grew up and continues to live. His father emigrated from Oaxaca, Mexico and his mother from Veracruz, Mexico; a part of his identity that he has in common with many of his students and Seaside residents.


“It's important to pour back into my community because my story is so similar to a lot of my students and to teach anywhere else, I wouldn’t be able to have the connection that I do right now to the community. I love this community, I love the people in it and I love the perseverance and resilience of my community and that’s something that I want to keep going and impart to the next generation of Seaside residents,” Diaz said.

Diaz is a homegrown teacher on the Monterey Peninsula, having attended all MPUSD schools as a child, studied at Monterey Peninsula College and obtained his teaching credential and undergraduate degree from Cal State University, Monterey Bay. He is currently teaching in the same classroom where he was once a 3rd grade student.

“I really wanted to be intentional about making sure that every student that walks in my classroom feels valued. Not just them as a scholar but as a whole person,” Diaz said.

His inspiration to continue that momentum for his students, comes from the way he was raised.

“I think at this point what inspires me still is my family. My parents, they were both immigrants to this country and just seeing how hard they worked to make sure that my sister and I had a good future, that we got a good education and I see a lot of myself in these students, seeing a lot of my family’s story being a similar story as a lot of families in this classroom,” Diaz said.

His mom, Martha Diaz, has been an elementary school teacher for the past 15 years and currently teaches at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., School of the Arts. His father works as a cook in Pebble Beach. 

Diaz says he and his twin sister watched their mom attend night school to get her GED. She later went to CSUMB to earn her teaching credential.

“I see how my dad had two jobs to support his family and also to support his wife’s dreams and that’s something that just fuels me. And when we talk about what gets me through a tough day, that’s the kind of thing that gets me through a really tough day,” Diaz said.

What also helps him get through tough days is being compassionate and having empathy for his students.


“Perspective. Just understanding that if something were to go wrong there’s probably a reason why and not being quick to anger but quick to listen,” Diaz said. “If a student isn’t working, perhaps they didn’t have a good night’s sleep and just really slowing down internally and also just understanding that like, they’re kids and I need to show them grace.”

Diaz has taught 3rd and 5th grade at both Ord Terrace and Del Rey Woods Elementary School. One day, he hopes to work in school district administration to have an even larger impact on more students.

“For me, I have to try hard and put forth my best effort because I know my parents did and I want to honor that. I want to honor what these students’ families are doing and make sure that I’m giving these kids the best possible education,” Diaz said.